ARCHIVE REVIEW: No Strings Attached

No Strings Attached
Directed by: Ivan Reitman
Written by: Elizabeth Meriwether
Starring: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Kline

Now more than ever is it hard to believe that the director of rich character pieces like Juno and Up in the Air is the descendant of Ivan Reitman, the director who gave us Ghost Busters, My Super Ex Girlfriend and now this movie.

While his son Jason Reitman frequents himself at award ceremonies for his films with scripts — ones that he often writes himself and is noted for — and story that go beyond his contemporary and minimalistic filming style, Ivan has been piling up money directing a handful of forgettable film and producing even more.

His latest work is No Strings Attached, a film no different from the rest. Pairing Ashton Kutcher with recent Academy Award winner Natalie Portman in Hollywood’s latest “just friends who have sex” romantic comedy. The trend of these films is at a jam-packed time, with Love & Other Drugs and this summer’s Friends With Benefits­. The latter bringing Justin Timberlake and Portman’s Black Swan co-star Mila Kunis together for a similar sexploitation.

This is no new Hollywood obsession. So does Reitman and his writers do anything to differentiate the story, make it careful character observation about the relationship dynamics or make a bold statement concerning women’s empowerment? Not necessarily.

Instead, it is the same old, same old. With raunchy jokes and the ever-lovable Kutcher practicing his charms for his upcoming role in Two and a Half Men by acting like half man, half Ashton Kutcher. Portman brings some things to the table however. Aside from playing the role convincingly, she attempts to somewhat get inside the character and show emotions and affect beyond most female counterparts.

Pondering the question that drives the movie and its marketing campaign, the film starts out with Adam (Kutcher) and Emma (Portman) engaging themselves in a no frills just thrills love affair that brings them in the bed once and the rest of the time provocatively texting and calling each other to hook up. Then Hollywood steps in. Of course love will follow sex and the woman is impervious to the charms of Kutcher.

Looking at a movie with a liberal concept like “just sex” relationships, the film is completely conservative, with its theme, with its depictions of the romance and with its characters actual intentions. Perhaps the film would have been better off in the hands of a screenwriter less influenced by a swarm of producers putting their Midas melting touch on the film. It would be much more interesting as a low budget, lesser regulated independent type film directed by Sophia Coppola or even remain the same big, budget January blah, but in the hands of Jason Reitman, who could breath life, decision, more female perspective and a proper ending into the film.

For now though, we get to look forward to funny ole’ Justin Timberlake covering high pitch 90’s songs with a sassy Mila Kunis. Joy!

Grade: C

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3 thoughts on “ARCHIVE REVIEW: No Strings Attached

  1. I just saw this a couple nights ago. I think Ashton Kutcher is amiable and Natalie Portman is usually at least pretty solid but I just didn’t find this funny at all. There is a couple scenes near the end that are passably moving but that was the extent of it. Easily the worst movie I have seen all year.

  2. Yeah. They need to get away from the formula and predictability of things. These producers with their big ideas need to step out of it and let writers and directors give us characters instead of studio created puppets.

    It’s a shame to make movies based around questions when the audience can tell you all the answers before seeing it.

  3. I knew this was going to be pretty awful and it was just so awkward for over half the movie. I don’t know if it was the audience I saw this with but a lot of the jokes got nothing but silence. Stings just didn’t know what it wanted to be…it felt like a mid-level comedy going for some edgy material, or an American Pie grade shock-comedy that pulled its punches. Good Review!

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